OSE 2017 Summer Camp

Like every year, OSE held 3 great weeks of outdoor activities and Jewish life for the youth : the OSE summer Camp is an institution in itself.

From August 2nd to 21st, the OSE summer camp in Les Gets gave a dream holiday to fifty young people aged 6 to 17, including a large group of teenagers. “All together, we have come together as a true family this summer – the older ones caring for the little ones – as it is advocated by OSE. And all of this in a safe environment,” explains Aaron Sellem, the manager. It is in the majestic, green and luminous environment of the Haute-Savoie region that young people had great time: mountain activities, rafting, water skiing, but also educational activities like themed games have raised enthusiasm. The icing on the cake was the Kosher caterer who has been very creative in order to dazzle the campers’ taste buds: large salads, couscous on Shabbat … For Aaron Sellem: “it is rewarding for the animators to work with children who know how to be grateful for what” they are given “.
The young people who are used to going to OSE summer camps and those for whom it was the first time promised to come back. As such, it is very possible that this camp of the OSE returns to Les Gets this winter. To be continued.


France Ambassador welcomed young French volunteers in Israel

On April 20th, Hélène Le Gal, France’s Ambassador in Israel, hosted the OSE leadership and young French volunteers currently on civic missions in Israel.


Photo credit: Elodie Sauvage / France Embassy in Israël

President Jean-François Guthmann and Director-General Patricia Sitruk were both present, alongside OSE volunteers on civic missions, the hosting facilities’ managers and the legal representatives of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israel Volunteer Association (IVA), both OSE partners.

The ambassador insisted on the exceptional experience that the civic service represents for young people. She pointed out its crucial role in the strengthenin<g of the ties between France and Israel. Israel has now become the 2nd destination in the world for France’s civic missions done abroad, and it has a little something to do with the work done at OSE!

In less than 2 years 100 volunteers went to Israel with OSE. They got involved all across the country and work in facilities for handicapped, elderly with diminishing autonomy, young children and teenagers. The latest group of 20 new volunteers took off to Israel on August 28th.


OSE remembers and honors Simone Veil


Simone Veil, a Shoah survivor, was a prominent public and political figure. But she was also a great woman of OSE and an honorary member of our Administrative Council. OSE honors her still vivid memory.

 A prominent public and political figure… :

  • November, 26th of 1974, Simone Veil, Minister of Health at the time, presented her project to amend the legislation on abortion to the General Assembly. “I would like to share with you my beliefs as a woman. I am sorry to do so in front of this assembly almost entirely composed of men.”


  • July, 17th of 1979, Simone Veil becomes the first women to chair the European Parliament. Europe is the second great fight of her life. A battle that she was a part of as soon as the Second World War ended. “As soon as I returned from deportation, I thought to myself that the only solution, if we wanted to keep this from happening to our children and grandchildren was to create Europe”, she said.


  • In 2010, Jean D’Ormesson welcomed Simone Veil under the dome of the Académie Française. A few quotes from his speech:

 “Allow me to put it simply: for someone who walked across the fire of hell alive and had to say goodbye to many of her candid illusions, you do not appear to be very cynical, but rather very sweet and even cheerful and full of life.”

“What you are, in fact, is an eternal rebel. You are a feminist, but you do not agree with the theory that denies any difference between men and women. You are the defender of the weak, but you will not accept any kind of victimization.”

“The key of your popularity rests on the principles that you defend, against anyone and everyone, without ever raising your voice, and that eventually convinces everyone.”

“Like the great majority of the French population: we love you, Madam. You are most welcome in the chair of Racine who spoke so well of love.”

 … Who always remained close to OSE


  • December 1983:

“The story of OSE is the story of Jewish children, some of who were still in their cribs, who were the victims of a relentless pursuit. Ripped out of their homes where they had found refuge, dragged inside those dark trains of death, they experienced the worst anguish and distress before meeting their final destiny.

They often shared those destinies with the doctors, teachers, and employees of OSE, who chose to stay by their side and die with them.

But the story of OSE, is also one of a relentless fight, both lucid and courageous, to save Jewish children. We are most grateful to the men and women which, often at the cost of their lives, took action against the executioners and snatched their victims away from them. And we mustn’t forget that, alongside them, stood many non-Jewish French, whose courage and benevolence allowed so many children to escape from the genocide.

Numerous survivors of the extermination never saw their parents again. Awoken from this nightmare, they had to learn how to live again. Today, by what they have become, they embody the very idea of the triumph of good over evil.”

Simone Veil, ex Minister, ex Chairman of the European Parliament


  • December, 5th of 1993: For OSE’s 80th anniversary, Simone Veil presented a conference called “Memory and Future”. This memorable anniversary brought together 1,500 people, and most of the former children survivors of Buchenwald.


  • May 2000: Extract of the PREFACE from the book “Lendemains” by Madam Simone Veil

May 1945. War has ended. And yet, the task of OSE is far from being over. The association helped the children survive, but it is not sufficient; now she wants to give them the will and joy to live.

OSE tries very hard to give all of the children she was entrusted with the most normal life possible, in spite of the traumas from the years before and the uncertainties that their future holds.

 By creating the newspaper “Lendemains”, OSE gave them the freedom, the space that allowed them to face it all. Fifty years later, reading “Lendemains” stirs profound emotions, and it is the opportunity to honor the admirable action of OSE, which knew how to turn those lost youngsters just out of concentration camp into men.”


  • November, 12th and 13th of 2008: The picture below was taken in La Sorbonne, Paris for Elie Wiesel’s 80th birthday: both OSE and the Elie-Wiesel University Institute of Jewish Studies had organized in his honor the conference “Read, Study after the catastrophe” in La Sorbonne.

On June 7th, the Grand Humanitarian Prize was awarded to OSE under the Dome of the Institut de France

Yet another recognition by the highest French authorities of the quality of the work realized by OSE and its teams.

The OSE Association, its Elders and its teams were immensely proud to be awarded this prize on June 7th. OSE had been one of the successful candidates for the Louis D. Institut de France Grand Humanitarian Prize of 2017 after its selection process, passing both its written evaluation and an on-site evaluation/interview.

The Louis D. Foundation aims at supporting associations, foundations, or non-governmental organizations engaged in the areas of charity and culture, or with a focus on developing research.

On June 7th, a solemn opening ceremony was held under the Dome of the Institut de France, chaired by Hélène Carrère d’Encausse, French historian and member of the Académie Française. The award was then presented to OSE President Jean-François Guthmann by Robert Pitt, member of the Institut and legal representative of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques (Academy of Political and Moral Sciences).

OSE is sharing this award with two other associations. OSE was rewarded for its hard work/commitment and its ongoing research for excellency in the solutions it provides to the users of our facilities.

The work of OSE in its entierty, both past and present, in all of its fields of activities, was presented and rewarded at the Institut de France. Eight hundred professionals and 200 volunteers that work in five different fields of activity protection of children in danger, social medicine, elderly dependency, disabled persons, history and memory. With this award, the action of all OSE teams in its 35 establishments and services is honored and acknowledged.

This prize will help in the renovation and expansion project of the Georges and Lili Garel Center, which has been the OSE headquarters for more than 20 years, based in the heart of the lively, working-class neighborhood of Belleville. The building’s renovation, where cultures and generations cross, will allow for the improvement of the conditions for conditions for welcoming the OSE Elders, and a better support for the children and families that are welcomed there.

Inside those renovated facilities, OSE will go on fulfilling its charitable project, built on the Judaic value of humanism.